Dental procedures can be incredibly expensive – They often require costly materials and expert labor. It can also be hard to put them off. Volunteers with our Washington, DC affiliate 7 On Your Side Call For Action have received more than one complaint from consumers who ended up in serious debt because of a third party offering to help pay their dental bills. In both cases, the patients were facing costly implant procedures that they didn’t think they could afford. The dentist’s staff then recommended taking out a loan from an unconventional source: A privately funded online company, rather than a financial institution. The results were not exactly what they expected. Both dentists got paid right away, and both patients started getting bills for their loans before the procedures were even completed. What’s worse, one of the dentists retired before the work was completed, and the other sadly passed away. Both patients were still on the hook for the loans. One of the two patients has now been able to pay off her loan, but the other, who claims her signature was forged on the loan paperwork, is still fighting with the help of Call For Action to clear up the bill.

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These unfortunate cases show the need to think carefully before undertaking a costly procedure, and particularly before arranging any unconventional type of financing. Shirley Rooker, Call For Action’s President, suggests the following before you agree to a dental procedure:

  • First, double check your insurance to see if the procedure may be covered.
  • If it is not covered, try to work out a payment plan with your provider.
  • Alternatively, if the procedure isn’t an emergency, consider holding off to save up for the procedure.
  • Don’t take out a medical or dental loan. While interest rates may start low, they often balloon and make the loan almost impossible to pay off. Involving a third party also means you may end up owing a lender whether the procedure is completed or not.

To submit your consumer complaint, use our online form.